A year in people #37 – the blue steel man

I was at a work conference. Probably something to do with IT, project management or Universities. Or more likely, all 3 together. I can’t really remember many details, but they’re not really relevant for this story. I’d gone with my boss Matt.

We were all sat in groups at tables, rather than in rows because there were group sessions as well as speakers. Bear with me, this is [slightly] relevant.

This guy came on and started talking about whatever he was talking about. I promise I was paying more attention at the time, it was a long time ago.

ANYWAY. He starts off fine. A couple of minutes in, he gets a bit twitchy. Now I know some people, when presenting, like to move around. Or not necessarily around as such, but maybe just a little bit. You know, some hand gestures, a little sidestep or two.

But lunging?

Oh yes, you read that right. Lunging. Nearly a Full On Lunge. WITH ROCKING.

Imagine, if you will, a tall, slim gentleman with his right leg out to the front and side about two steps at 2pm if you were looking at a clock. Got it? Now imagine him rocking forwards onto that leg. Then backwards to straight. Then forwards again. Then backwards, in a not-quite-so-slow-it’s-sexual but slow-enough-that-you-can’t-stop-staring speed. YOU GET THE GIST.

Now. I was fine. It was unusual, yes, but I was a professional. Until I glanced over to Matt. He was sat a little behind me, to the right. I was on an edge of our group table, turned the other way round to face the front. This meant I was in the middle of the room with a massive gap in front of me, no one to hide behind and in full view of Lunging Man.

Matt leant over to me and whispered “What the hell is he doing? He’s like Blue Steel” (or something very similar, but it had the words ‘blue steel’ in it).

That was IT. I wasn’t even sure what he was even referring to, but I just got the giggles. Oh man, like really, properly got the giggles. But the room was quiet, and Lunging Man was only halfway through his presentation, so I had to giggle silently. The more I tried to stop, the more they came. I was well aware of being in full view of people, so I put my head down, but my shoulders were shaking. I chanced a look at Matt and it set me off even more. I started to squeak, like a mouse, LITERALLY like a bloody mouse, and threw in some fake coughs to try and cover it which made me sound like some kind of deranged choking animal that needed putting out of its misery. I looked at Matt again and now he’d started giggling. I couldn’t look at him anymore, but I could see his whole body shaking out the corner of my eye.

I could see the guy to the left of me looking at both of us in confusion. I tried to apologise with my eyes, shrugged my shoulders, but couldn’t stop the laughing. Then he started too. That was three of us on our table. I’d given up listening to Lunging Man, I was too busy trying to breathe. My eyes were streaming and I was in danger of snorting. I’d got to that point where you don’t even know why you’re giggling anymore, but you just can’t stop.

We didn’t stop until Lunging Man had finished his presentation. “That was totally your fault” I said to Matt as I tried to regain some kind of composure, fanning my red face with both hands in that way you do that’s totally pointless, while ignoring the rest of our table who seemed to have missed our joke. “Nope, not my fault” he replied.

“Bloody is. What or who is Blue Steel anyway?” I asked.

“You don’t know?”

“NO!”

He couldn’t work out why I got the giggles if I didn’t even know what he was on about. “HE WAS LUNGING. And you saw it too.” I said. “You made me laugh.”

We then had to explain it to the chap on my left who’d also succumbed to the giggle-fit. Not sure he quite understood but he did a good job of being polite about it in that way that only the British can.

We were still laughing about it all the way home.

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